O’Connell inspired Ahoghill out point Armoy

Andersonstown SC IHC Group 1

Glen Rovers Armoy 1-14 Cloney Gaels 1-24

Cloney Gaels greater fire power and a personal tally of 0-13 from James O’Connell proved too much in the end for a battling Glen Rovers, Armoy in this opening game of the Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling championship in Armoy tonight.

The home side matched the visitors during the opening quarter and the sides were tied at 0-5 to 0-5 after 13 minutes but significantly, Cloney Gaels hit six unanswered points to pull away by the 24th minute before going on to lead 0-15 to 0-7 at the short whistle.

Armoy matched the visitors score for score during the third quarter but a Ronan Graham goal in the 42nd minute put paid to any chance of a come-back. The home side kept battling to the end and were rewarded with a goal of their own when Conor Christie found the net in the 54th minute.

It was visitors Ahoghill who were quickest off the mark with points from James and Neil O’Conell but Armoy replied through Emmet O’Hara and Thomas Burns to draw level by the 5th minute.

Conor Christie edged Armoy ahead for the first time before James O’Connell tied matters for the second time and points from Joe McBride and PJ McBride for Armoy and two from James O’Connell for the visitors left Glen Rovers one in front with ten minutes gone.

The host side wouldn’t score again for another 15 minutes however as visitors Cloney Gaels stepped up the ante with Dan O’Neill levelling matter and James O’Connell hitting three on the trot and five in all before the break.

Ronan Graham, Owen Neeson and PJ O’Connell from a sublime sideline cut from 40 meters in reply to late points from PJ McBride and an excellent long range free from Keeper, Conor Devlin left the half time score 0-15 to 0-7 in favour of the Ahoghill side.

Cloney Gaels rang the changes at half time but it didn’t disrupt their rhythm with Colla McDonnell getting his name on the score card with a couple of points in the third quarter and the excellent Ronan Graham getting the game’s opening goal with 12 minutes of the new half gone.

Armoy responded with points from PJ McBride, Emmet O’Hara 0-2, and two from Tarlach McBride but when Thomas Burns fired wide from the penalty spot they never really looked like getting the scores to bring them back into contention as Cloney Gaels continued to call the shots.

Colla McDonnell, Gerard Graham, Dan O’Neill and the superb James O’Connell 0-5, concluded the scoring for the visitors with Tarlach McBride and the battling Conor Christie pointing before finding the net after 24 minutes for the Glen Rovers but that was to be their final score.

This was a good start for Cloney Gaels but they will face stiffer tests in a strong group which includes St. Gall’s,  Glenariffe Oisin, Cathaoir an Ri and Gort na Mona.

Armoy: Conor Devlin, Shane Devlin, Liam Dillon, Jopseph McFetridge, Colum Coyles, Joe McBride, Arthur Devlin, PJ McBride, Conor Christie, Tarlach McBride, Daniel Connolly, Emmet O’Hara, Frank McCaughan, Thomas Burns, Timothy Burns. Subs: Ciaran Coyles, Eoin O’Boyle, Dylan McIntyre, Aidan McErlain, Odhran McErlain, John O’Kane

Ahoghill: Martin Graham, Harry O’Donmnell, James Magee, Diarmaid Graham, Fionnbar O’Neill, Bernard Graham, PJ O’Connell, Francis Neeson, Neil O’Connell, Owen Neeson, Patrick Graham, Ronan Graham, Dan O’Neill, Donal Graham, James O’Connell. Subs: halftime, Colla McDonnell for Donal Graham, Gerard Graham for Neill O’Connell. Second half, Dominic Neeson for PJ O’Connell, Connor Crossey for Finbar O’Neill.

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

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